Whenever I go to my favourite dim sum restaurant back home in Singapore, jiaozi are always the first thing I order. These are often steamed, but I find that frying them first, letting their bases caramelise, gives the finished dumplings a satisfying crunch. You should be able to find vermicelli rice noodles, or thin rice noodles, in any supermarket, often in the Asian food aisle or the noodle section; some may even have the pre-cooked noodles in the stir-fry section of the chiller cabinet. If you have the dried sort, just boil the noodles for 3 minutes, then dunk immediately into a bowl of cold water and drain well.
Buy gluten-free dumpling skins, and use tamari in place of the soy sauce.
Put all the filling ingredients into a large bowl and mix well with your hands to make sure everything is thoroughly coated and evenly distributed.
Fill and fold the dumplings as shown opposite. Repeat until you have used up all the filling and dumpling skins.
To steam the dumplings, line a steamer basket with baking paper and fit in as many dumplings, seam side up, as you can without overcrowding – you need to leave gaps between them. Set the steamer basket over a pan of boiling water and steam the dumplings for 10–12 minutes, then repeat for the remaining dumplings.
To fry the dumplings, set a skillet over medium-high heat and add the vegetable oil. Fill the pan with dumplings, seam side up, and fry until their bottoms are golden and crisp, about 3 minutes. Add enough water to the pan to half-submerge the dumplings, then immediately cover the pan and let the dumplings steam for 3 minutes. Uncover the pan, drizzle the dumplings with the sesame oil and keep cooking until all the water has evaporated.
Serve the dumplings warm with a small bowl of light soy sauce for dipping.
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